Exposure to new ideas, new sights, and new challenges seems uncomfortable to a lot of "ditto" people on both sides of the political spectrum. By visiting another point of view, they are putting at risk their comfort and certainty. We all feel a sense of risk of our firm opinions being diluted by other contexts.
BAN.org has stated that copper mining is not their issue, in response to the observation that the worst recycling is more sustainable and environmentally beneficial than the best form of mining. But in supply and demand, if you shut down recycling, especially something as simple as lead acid batteries (which BAN opposes exporting), the only POSSIBLE result is more mining. It is an absolutely certain result. The OK Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea is a single copper mine which many could argue results in more pollution and destruction than every landfill in the USA and every wire burning operation in China. The Australian company which opened it admitted it was a disaster and withdrew... but as copper demand increased, a Chinese mining company reopened it.
I try to write without contributing to the internet's "echo effect" of retweets and diggs and Facebook buzz. That means digging for other perspectives, and hoping we all get closer to the truth. What I'm really concerned about is copper wire recycling.
I visited a site in Nanhai where they were stripping the wire carefully by hand. But I could smell burned wire everywhere. If we ship to the people we visited, how do we know our wire will be stripped by hand, not sold out the back door for burning?
Even if it's done correctly, will we be in effect drinking a non-alcoholic drink, wearing a blindfold, in a strip joint?* ("HONEY!! I SWEAR, I WASN'T DRINKING AND I WASN'T LOOKING!!) If we refuse to trade with the only operation stripping the copper wire in a sustainable fashion, will the operation go back to burning since we don't care and won't sell to them anyway? If we shred the wire in the USA, how many cables would have been sorted for reuse?
What we need to do is study the mining industry and the copper cable recycling industry. If the issue is the temperature at which the cables are burned, surely China can get some hotter furnaces rather than reopen the Papua New Guinea rain forest copper mine!
* I tried googling an image, hoping to find a cartoon image of someone blindfolded in a strip bar. It had unintended consequences. But I watch Breaking Bad, I can just imagine him trying to convince Skylar....